Wednesday, March 28, 2012

PRC & SCS vs. Speak for Yourself, links round-up

Author's note:  I'll continue to update stories as I can.  The articles with ** next to them are the most recently added articles.

In the few days since my last post went up there has been a suprising (well, to me --- I guess not to people in the know) response.  I expected to possibly hear from two groups: those in the special needs community (parents, therapists, bloggers) and those in the speech/assistive tech/AAC community.  Remarkably, those groups (especially the latter) have been relatively quiet.  (With regard to the AAC community especially, I get the walls-have-eyes feeling . . . I think a lot of people are chosing the watch-and-wait approach.  Which is perfectly fine, of course.)

What I didn't expect what the tidal wave* of sudden traffic from a third group: the tech community.  Being a very non-technological girl myself (I still often can't get two pictures side-by-side on the blog without some sort of formatting error) I was totally unaware of the tech blogs/boards/news sites until now.  Here's what I've learned: tech people tend to not like broad software patents.  Also, some of them have a lot to say on this matter.  Also, I can't understand a lot of what they say, which includes terms like jailbreak, open source, and prior art. (But I'm learning.)

I'm going to list some links below, places that this story has traveled . . . but with a few warnings.  First, I'll let you know which ones are articles and which ones are discussion-board style posts--some of which are very technical.  Second, and this is a big one, please realize that these are tech folks, not special needs folks.  Some of the comments could seem hurtful (along the lines of Well, there is a device out there, it's just $7,000 and the parents don't want to pony up the money or It seems like they should see a doctor and help the girl learn how to speak properly) . . . please realize that they are not hurtful to us.  They are just misinformed----frankly, in the same way that I would be misinformed if I tried to jump into a conversation on "prior art" (which actually has nothing to do with art, in case you were wondering).

If you decide to go check out the links, particularly the ones to the tech boards, please don't worry about trying to defend us.  We are perfectly content without being defended, and seriously, our feelings aren't hurt.  The differences between a specific AAC device and an app can be multi-layered and tricky to explain, and assuming that we just wanted the cheaper one (as opposed to the more fitting one) is a logical assumption.  Incorrect, of course, but logical.  And trying to explain undiagnosedness. . . well, I've encountered doctors who intially seem skeptical, so it doesn't phase me at all that non-medical, non-SN folks might have trouble wrapping their brains around it.

Without further ado:

Articles in the US:
A Little Girl Finds Her Voice Thanks to Threatened New iPad App (from This is the most comprehensive, balanced, fair article I've seen.  Plus, it has a super cute picture of Maya.

The Iceman Cometh, with his Legal Team (from  Robert Rummel-Hudson's perspective on the lawsuit, very interesting particularly because his daughter, Schuyler, has communicated with a device from PRC for the past 7 years. 

Patents Threaten to Silence a Little Girl, Literally (from  (My favorite part of this one is that people keep misreading the title-here and on another site- as "parents" instead of "patents."  Well, that would change everything, wouldn't it?)

Patent Dispute Threatens to Silence 3-Year-Old  (from

Who owns the tech to talk?  The human toll of patent warfare (from

How Tech Patents Hurt Real People (from

Patent Dispute Threatens to Silence 3-Year-Old (from O-I newswire)

Patent lawsuit threatens inexpensive iPad app to let autistic speak (from

On David A. Wheeler's Blog

**Parent Draws Attention to Patent War Over Communication App (on's Children with Special Needs page)

**Patent lawsuit threatens inexpensive iPad app to let autistic speak (on

In Russia: "Patent owners want to deprive the little girl voice"  (from There's clearly some stuff lost in translation here, and I can't tell which stuff was misunderstood and which stuff just might translate to English poorly. The comments definitely don't translate well, although reading things like "hooligans of rob!" and "what is jaundice" made me smile this morning. Also, it makes me worry that when google auto-translates my blog I might sound like an idiot.

In France: "Patents: choose between copyright and the silence of a little girl" (from  Again, not perfectly translated.

In Scotland: "Software patent threatens disabled child" 

**From a Romanian blog: Software patents and their harmful (that title may not have translated correctly)

Other stuff (these conversations tend to be more technical in nature):
On Slashdot
On OSnews
On Reddit
On Metafilter

*By tidal wave, I mean that we've had over 37,000 hits since that post went up.  That's way more traffic than I typically get in a few days.


Vava said...

Hi Dana, I'm Vincent, the French author of the article on
I would like you to tell me which parts I've misunderstood in my paper so that I could, if necessary, correct it.
If you don't have the time or patience to re-read it, nevermind ;)


Anonymous said...

I translated and read your blog with Google translate, then read it again in the original English. Other than the comment about "ponying up" the money, it all came across fairly clearly. That line came out something like, "parents do not want a pony for the money," which doesn't have anything to do with the phrase in English. So don't worry about sounding silly.

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